Make every click count!

Straight North is an Internet marketing agency specializing in SEO, PPC and responsive websites. We help firms increase sales leads and e-commerce revenue.

Our core service is SEO. We have helped hundreds of firms improve organic search visibility since 1997. We are the only SEO company that validates and reports all sales leads from phone and forms.

Call us today: 855-264-8969

 
$1,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
50 - 249
 Founded
1997
Show all +
Chicago, IL
headquaters
  • Straight North
    211 W Upper Wacker Dr, Suite 1800
    Chicago, IL 60606
    United States
    855-264-8969

Reviews

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Web Dev & Redesign for Medical Scale Manufacturer

“Straight North figured out the best way to get our message across.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Spring 2013 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North revamped an outdated Drupal website, focusing on improving the visual impact of medical products. The team continues to update the site and develop new features.

The Reviewer
 
51 - 200 Employees
 
Greater Chicago Area
Marketing Specialist, Medical Scale Manufacturer
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Straight North is reliable, delivering bug-free code on deadline and responding quickly to inquiries, both in person and remotely. Their high-quality work has resulted in the new site receiving significant positive feedback from users.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I work in the marketing department of a medical scale manufacturer. Our products are used in hospitals and doctors' offices.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

For years, we had a very old website that was hard to look at. We knew that the website was supposed to be updated every once in a while.  

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We discussed the design — how the website should be organized and what we needed. Our website is informational and not sales-focused because we sell through distributors. Straight North figured out the best way to get our message across.

They designed a completely new website using Drupal, which we access through Acquia. Straight North put graphics on the homepage, added new pages, and displayed all the product info. As we get new products, they add other little things on the website to make them stand out.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

We did a Google search and found Straight North. They were close to our office, so we decided to contact them for a quote and some ideas about our website. We liked what we saw when we went to Straight North’s office and met them. We visited a couple of other offices in the area, but Straight North had a better quote.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in the spring of 2013. I don’t remember how long it took them to update the site. Every once in a while, they’ll help us out when we have changes or new pages to add on the website.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

The launched website got good feedback. There weren’t any serious bugs that needed to be fixed.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

They are good at meeting deadlines. I don't recall them ever having an issue or not launching when we wanted them to. They pretty much get things done in a timely manner. They've been great.

The communication is good, and Straight North’s project manager is responsive. We sometimes meet in person since we are so close to each other.

Are there any areas Straight North could improve?

I haven't had any big issues with them.

5.0
Overall Score We haven’t had any issues. Everything’s been going smoothly.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They always do things in a timely manner.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    When we initially got the quote, they were pretty reasonable with their pricing, and I feel like they still are. It's hard to say if their pricing is better or worse than others.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They provide good quality. We haven’t redesigned our website in a long time, so it’s hard for me to compare them to others. Personally, I think they did great.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    They’ve been easy to work with. Every time I contact them, they respond right away, asking questions to figure out what we need.

Website Launch and SEO Work for Glass Retailer

"If you give Straight North an objective, they're going to achieve it."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
2011 - 2015
Project summary: 

Straight North developed a brand-new e-commerce website in Drupal, creating an engaging online presence. They also launched relevant SEO and PPC campaigns to attract target customers to the platform. 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Owner, Quality Glass Block
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Since the site’s launch, annual retail revenue has increased by $580,000, and page visits and view times have increased significantly. Straight North’s professional designs, impeccable quality, and adherence to all scheduling and pricing estimates built a rewarding partnership.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I own an online retail glass block distributor called Quality Glass Block. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

We wanted to develop a website that was able to communicate the differences between our product lines and serve as a resource for our customers shopping online. We also wanted to build links and SEO into our actual website.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They set up and managed my pay-per-click (PPC) services and did my SEO. They also built a brand-new website in Drupal; the old site was in HTML. When they completed the web design, they showed me a few different mockups to choose from. The only things they didn’t do were my email marketing (because we don’t have an email marketing campaign) and social media.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

I interviewed about 12 or 13 different companies. When it came down to it, we decided to pick Straight North. They were the highest in terms of price, but I knew what I wanted in a website, and I got what I was exactly looking for. In the end, it was more about getting the service and the product that I wanted than a certain price point.

How much have you invested with Straight North?

It costs me $3,000 a year to maintain the site.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started in March of 2011 and rolled out the new site in October of 2011. For the next year, we did SEO and then jumped into PPC. In 2012 and part of 2013, we did SEO. Then, all the way through 2015, we did PPC. Now, the site pretty much runs on its own. They do some maintenance for me. If I need to fix or change anything, they’re just a phone call away.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or impact of the engagement?

Hands down, Straight North has helped my company grow. We were making about $120,000 a year in e-commerce before, and we're up to about $700,000 per year. I would attribute 90% of that growth to Straight North. The biggest thing was growing our presence online. That was the big portion of what they did for me.

We took everything that was in binders and on shelves and put it on a website that's available to our customers as a resource. We watched the number of people that jump off Google Analytics drop. The time spent on our website increased, as well the number of pages that the average customer views.

Customers absolutely love the website’s clean layout and the fact that all the information is so informative. Because it’s so professional, most of them think that we're the manufacturer, not just a distributor.

What did you find most impressive about Straight North?

Their content is second to none. It brings people in and makes the information readable. They do a really good job at writing the content in a way that’s SEO friendly and attracts the right client. A portion of our website is very technical to attract architects. Another portion of the website is dumbed down for the do-it-yourselfers. A third portion is moderately detailed for contractors. That's what I liked the most about the site.

Straight North uniquely juggles different things. We asked them to put in a customer image process—a place where people could upload photos—and they found a way to do it. They were constantly working to give us what we want.

Are there any areas Straight North could improve?

Their pricing is expensive, but you get what you pay for, so I would not ding them on that.

What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Straight North?

Be prepared for when the site goes live. We were not prepared for the increased business we were going to have, and we had a ton of overtime while working late on weekends. If you give Straight North an objective, they're going to achieve it, but you're only as good as your internal structure. That was the biggest lesson we learned through this process. 

5.0
Overall Score They're absolutely incredible.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They told me they’d finish by the end of the year because the work was complex, and we did.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They definitely stuck to the original estimate with no issues. From a cost standpoint, I was hesitant at first, but when I saw what I got, the value was absolutely there. In fact, that was our only downfall: we didn't anticipate what they’d deliver.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They're phenomenal. We wanted to reach a certain type of client, and the site did that.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I recommended them last week to the actual manufacturer of the glass blocks.

Web Redesign and SEO for Staffing Agency

"Straight North can do anything if the client provides the concept."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Jan. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North designed and developed a Drupal website. Now, they provide ongoing SEO and digital marketing services focused on attracting quality job candidates.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Director of Corporate Communications, Staffing Agency
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Straight North delivered a high-quality site in a short delivery window because of their proactive project management techniques. The site has produced a five-fold increase in qualified job applicants. The team had a strong design sensibility that has pleased stakeholders.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the Director of Corporate Operations for a full-service, multi-disciplined staffing firm headquartered in Chicago. We help our clients find quality job candidates for a variety of key industries.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

We had an existing, old website that needed to be redesigned. We were looking for web design and SEO companies who could first deliver a new Drupal website and then generate more qualified job candidates through an online marketing campaign.

We generally wanted to get the word out around the country about our services. We also needed a new website to improve our public presence and marketing in general.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Straight North was hired just to redesign our Drupal website and then manage a coordinated SEO campaign targeting educated job candidates. There were no other service involved.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

We put out a competitive bid using a traditional RFP process. We narrowed our choice to six similar agencies. Straight North came in and pitched us in person. They had the best team and the most helpful suggestions on how to reach our goals. We also liked their expertise and pricing so we decided to hire them in early 2016.

How much have you invested with Straight North?

We generally spend about $20,000 per year on SEO work. We decided to add more additions to the website build and Straight North priced that for us separately.

What is the status of this engagement?

The engagement is ongoing for SEO services. They started by redesigning the new website in Drupal and then immediately optimized it for organic search. We have no plans to stop the partnership with Straight North.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

Straight North delivered a magnificent website that everyone on our team loves. They were able to launch the new website on time because they have great project management and communication. 

The website was immediately more productive than the old website. In fact, we had five applications filled out in the first hour of going live! We only had about 10 applications per week with the old, obsolete website. We now receive about 50 applications per week, which is a five-fold increase. We are very happy with Straight North.

The website design is also excellent and has received high marks from stakeholders. Our marketing team is doing outreach to our existing clients to share our new website. Our clients are quite impressed with the clean and simple design. It's provocative and attractive, we have received many compliments from clients and job candidates.

Are there any areas Straight North could improve?

I have no complaints about the Straight North team and couldn't think of anything they can improve. They were able to take our concept and run with it.

What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Straight North?

My advice for other potential clients is to be clear about your goals and make sure your team is on the same page with objectives. Straight North can do anything if the client provides the concept.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They never were late with anything.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They were fair with price increases when we wanted things outside the scope.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    It was excellent quality.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would recommend without a doubt.

SEO Services for Debt Lender

“Our business is quite esoteric, but Straight North has definitely been able to grow our leads.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
July 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North improved the SEO of a financial services website by reconfiguring the backend architecture and supplying relevant content. The team continues to monitor and update the platform.

The Reviewer
 
11 - 50 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Partner, CapX Partners
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Straight North’s team is made up of professionals whose detailed and timely work generates significantly more leads for the company. This is particularly impressive given the sometimes confusing nature of the business.  

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am a partner in CapX Partners, a debt lender targeting the middle market. We offer leases and loans to middle-market companies.  

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

We were looking to drive external leads by improving our web presence. Our business driver is inbound leads, so our main focus was our standing on search engine optimization. We don’t drive all our business through the Internet, which is true for the financial services industry as a whole. Even though we don’t have a web-driven industry, we do strive to improve. A show store can easily move to e-commerce, but lending businesses offer more abstract services that people don’t look for online. Instead, they would rather go to their banks or lawyers for these services.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

In their proposal, they explained what they would be doing, as well as outlined what they saw as our shortcomings and objectives. Straight North worked over a period of time to make the required changes and fixes. They started by changing the architecture of the website’s backbone, followed by supplying proper content, tags, and keyword attribution. We only worked on unpaid search, which involved developing keyword attribution.

Straight North also built the perception that our company was a knowledge center. They looked at what we should be putting on our website, essentially tackling web PR. They also offered to write our content, but we were using an external PR person who understood our business. Nevertheless, Straight North collaborated with that resource very well.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

I am on the board of a design firm and started to ask around there, looking for people who were good at SEO. Straight North specialized in what we needed. Since our group has used outsourced parties in the past, I looked at other vendors as well. I chose Straight North based on web research, relationships, and my own judgment.

How much have you invested with Straight North?

The cost of their work has been around $50,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Straight North in July 2015. At the moment, the work involves monitoring, reviewing, and maintenance.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

Our business is quite esoteric, but Straight North has definitely been able to grow our leads. Thanks to their efforts, we’ve gone from 0 leads per month to 10. Some industries can see 1,000 leads per month, but we’re a bit different. We've moved up in Google rankings and achieved our objectives.

They also sent detailed monthly reporting on the use of our keywords and leads. There is staff in place for scrubbing these leads. We can easily see what leads are coming through and who they are.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

Straight North has a comprehensive process that followed best practices.

What did you find most impressive about Straight North?

They’re pros who do a great job. I was pleased with Straight North’s performance.

Are there any areas Straight North could improve?

I chalk some of the results up to our business being more esoteric. Our hits have grown significantly, but people can’t necessarily order our services online. Given the nature of SEO, Straight North is best at generating leads for companies with more concrete products.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Our work plans were laid out very well. They’ve hit every target that we talked about.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    We agreed on a price, scheduled meetings, and got to work. Everything was good.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Straight North takes the time to figure out our objectives. They produce work along those lines.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

SEO for Manufacturer Group

"We went from an old, tired website into something that we feel has that wow factor."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
May 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North migrated the content of 3 websites into a single platform. They are optimizing the new site for mobile responsiveness and search engine performance.  

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Industrial Marketing Manager, Manufacturing Group
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Straight North implemented an intuitive navigation system that encourages visitors to make a purchase. The new website is sleek, which customers appreciate. While Straight North’s communication methods need improvement, their project management is strong.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the industrial marketing manager for 3 divisions of 1 company. The first is a 140-year-old perforating division in Pennsylvania. I also work with another division that emulates our Pennsylvania facility. It’s a smaller branch that handles shipping for the Midwest. The third division is in Kentucky, and it manufactures screen products that are sold worldwide.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

The challenge we were trying to address with Straight North was twofold. First, we wanted to merge our 3 existing websites into 1 website that had a more contemporary style. A couple of them were pretty old and were not mobile responsive. To make it even more complex, the 3 divisions of our company wanted to be treated as separate entities. It was a little complicated to design a website that would serve all 3 entities without confusing the visitor about what entity they were visiting. Second, we wanted to improve search engine optimization so that we would rank better online. Merging these sites would help us get better SEO results since we were splitting it 3 ways before.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The project involved a complex redesign. Straight North helped us restructure the content from the old websites and move everything into a single site. In the end, they moved all 3 sites under 1 domain while treating each site as its own individual site.

When we contracted with Straight North to do our website, we recognized that they were a leader in the SEO arena. We asked them to start working on that after the website went live, and they’ve just started to phase that in. Back in January, we contracted them to manage our global AdWords account and handle some of our retargeting as well.

How much have you invested with Straight North?

The website rebuild cost us $40,000–$60,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

The initial part of the project was the website rebuild, and we started that in January 2016. We signed the contract with them to do the web rebuild in May 2016. Straight North works really fast, but we had some constraints on our end. That’s why it took about a year or 2 to release the new website. So far, we’ve worked with them for about 5 months on SEO, Google AdWords, and retargeting.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

I depend on our sales people to get feedback, and what I've heard has been great. We’ve had a lot of positive responses, both internally and externally. I know that we went from an old, tired website into something that we feel has that wow factor. Straight North’s design is great. The overall layout is more robust, and the navigation is much clearer. People can easily find what they’re looking for. We’ve also increased what we can do on the website. It’s faster and mobile responsive. We’ve added other features that we didn't have before, like a search function. From a marketing strategy, we can now embed different collateral on multiple pages. We can provide material to the visitor right where they are on the site. If a customer is visiting a given page, there’s a ton of information that they can access through related resources. It’s much more intuitive.

Our lead generation has increased exponentially. We probably saw a 20% to 25% increase in our leads, especially with the retargeting. The cost of doing that has been extremely low. In fact, we were surprised at how low it is. I'm looking forward to the SEO results. I wish we’d been with them longer and I was able to give you better feedback on that. I think we’ll be satisfied with them like we were during the web build.  

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

They have been flexible. We had to do some deviation from the initial project scope, and they kept the change orders to a minimum. They adapted the scope or added things without even having to do a change order and incurring costs on our end.   

What did you find most impressive about Straight North?

I can say that Straight North has been the most professional group I’ve worked with, by far. When we told a competing company that we brought in during our request for quotation process that they lost the business to Straight North, they said, “You’ve got a great company.” I feel that Straight North is well-known. We’ve had a good experience working with them. I think that we’ll enjoy their services for a long time to come.

Are there any areas Straight North could improve?

Sometimes, the process they used to communicate updates was a little clunky. For instance, they would send us a Word document. I actually found an online utility that would work way better, and Straight North is looking into using that for all of their accounts. However, that was really a minor thing. We were able to communicate effectively, but using something online would have made things easier.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    If I could give them a higher score on that, I would.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    As I explained earlier, we went over the initial scope of the process. They worked hard to avoid any additional costs, and I think they did a great job.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    We have a functional website that was fully tested before release. I sent the project manager an email this morning thinking I found a bug, and it was something that I was doing on my end.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve already recommended Straight North. Another organization reached out to me about our project, since they were thinking about going down the same path.

Digital Marketing for Sports Apparel Retailer

"Without Straight North, we would have been significantly behind compared to where we are now."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
2007 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North has helped a client increase sales through its eCommerce business through more focus on website design, SEO, PPC, and social media marketing.

The Reviewer
 
11- 50 employees
 
Baltimore, Maryland Area
Vice President, Sports Apparel Retailer
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Straight North has helped the client turn a small web business into over a million dollars in revenue. Their attentiveness and response time stands out.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the vice president of a company that manufactures athleticwear and apparel. Our products are sold locally in the state of Maryland as well as nationwide and internationally. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

The landscape seems to be changing a little in that many people are going online first for shopping, even in terms of uniforms. We've noticed this trend so we're putting less of a focus on local internal reps and channeling those resources into the site. Specifically, we wanted a new design and an increased SEO effort.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Our 2017 scope includes a buildout of a brand-new website. We're also working with Straight North's web marketing department on SEO, pay-per-click, and social media campaigns.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

We started working with Straight North around a decade ago when they had a different name. We had an existing comfort level—Straight North had performed well for us and we communicated well with the team. After seeing Straight North's proposal, it was an easy choice to keep with what we knew.

How much have you invested with Straight North?

In 2017, we plan to have a $70,000 spend on marketing, along with the cost of the website which was around $30,000. The total budget is $100,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Straight North's team 10 years ago while they were part of another company. There was a lot of continuity in terms of their resources and location, which was comforting, but we've also met new people for the web development work. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

Our site has gone live only a few weeks ago, so its success rate remains to be seen. I've been very satisfied with Straight North within prior experiences. They've been phenomenal to work with. When we first started working with their team, we weren't in the web game at all. They brought us into the scene and it has developed into a million-dollar business for us. Without Straight North, we would have been significantly behind compared to where we are now.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

I've worked with many different companies; Straight North stands out through the level of attention given. Our phone calls are returned quickly and Straight North's team went out of their way to accommodate any special requests we had.

What did you find most impressive about Straight North?

They're there to work for us, not just complete what they signed up for.

Are there any areas Straight North could improve?

I am satisfied at the moment, but that could change in 2 to 3 months if our leads haven't increased. I wasn't disappointed with Straight North in any regard.

What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Straight North?

Trust the experts and let them do what they're good at. Clients shouldn't insert themselves too much into areas they don't understand.

5.0
Overall Score I've had a lot of experience in development. I can't think of anything I was dissatisfied with on Straight North's end.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    There was one speed bump during the process. Straight North made up the time and were upfront about it.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    We stuck to our budget exactly.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Design for Legal Group

"Our day-to-day team was awesome, and I enjoyed working with them."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
1999 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North was responsible for planning and launching a new publication design scheme to improve engagement and overall readership.

The Reviewer
 
11- 50 employees
 
Chicago, Illinois Area
Managing Editor, Legal Association
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Straight North delivered a beautiful website and met the client's design goals. Their project management could improve but they are a fun group to partner with.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

The Association for Legal Administrators has a staff of 30–35 members and serves as a professional organization for people running law firms. Our members include CFOs, executive directors, and basic administrative staff.

I am the managing editor of the organization. I run our publication.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

We needed help with the design of our publication. I have been working with the organization for 2 years. Before I was hired, there was a board decision to get rid of the print publication and continue it in app form.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Straight North works on our publication providing design work. We have recently made a redesign which launched in January 2017. Straight North originally developed the iOS and Android apps, as well as the website for our publication. Through no fault of their own, the result was not well-received by members, leading to low readership numbers. We came up with a plan and had Straight North phase out our apps while making the website more robust and responsive. We put together a plan for making the content ungated, instead of having a membership lockdown. Straight North was instrumental in having us get it off the ground.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

We have a longstanding relationship with Straight North, going back 20 years. When we remade our website, we didn't look anywhere else.

How much have you invested with Straight North?

The cost of the web redesign was $31,800.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Straight North back in the 90s. The relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

Our readership had been abysmal before the redesign, and our ad sales plummeted. This is more of a reflection on our internal processes. Straight North developed a beautiful app initially, but it was never properly introduced to our readership. We took away a print publication which readers didn't want to get rid of, and threw an electronic version at them. Our members are not a very change-happy group, so the app didn't work as well as we would have wanted.

We're hoping to push our content out there more, employing a social media strategy. Having more hits on our content will hopefully bring back advertisers. The new site has only been out for 3 weeks, so it's too early to tell.

Our readers had been requesting a functionality for viewing the entire publication in PDF form. As a result, Straight North has designed 2 versions of the publication, a web version and a fully-designed PDF which members can print. I anticipate that this will make our readers very happy.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

Our day-to-day team was awesome, and I enjoyed working with them. Project management was a bit challenging, given that our contact from Straight North didn't communicate deadlines very well. We had very little time to give feedback, so being a day late meant that the project wouldn't be done in time. It wasn't a major issue, but Straight North's project management could have been stronger.

Are there any areas Straight North could improve?

Better communication and having an upfront schedule would be an improvement. Having one day for client feedback is not feasible.

What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Straight North?

Clients should go in with a clear plan and outline their requirements. We had a wish list which ballooned the budget, so researching the project and having clear requirements is important.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Design and SEO for Electrical Contractor

"Even when things are down to the wire and the timeframe isn't as it should be in order for them to do certain things, they make things happen."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Dec. 2013 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North produced a new website design for the client's main corporate website and also have marketed it to make sure the right types of potential customers find it online.

The Reviewer
 
11- 50 employees
 
Chicago, Illinois Area
Project Engineer, Electrical Contractor
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Straight North has a flexible team that hits deadlines even with challenging circumstances and many client change requests. They have improved overall web traffic to the new site.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I work for an electrical contractor that designs, builds, and installs lighting and power systems in a variety of industries. I have an electrical engineering degree and I do special projects and a little bit of business development for the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

The goal was to create a new design for our corporate website.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Straight North did the web design and launch for our corporate site. We’re now in the process of doing SEO. I provided them a list of professional organizations within our industry for them to reach out to in order to create links back to our site. They’re also trying to figure out where we need to make modifications on the website in order to draw more traffic to it.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

We’ve used Straight North for the majority of our marketing tools, brochures, pamphlets, presentation books, etc. Using them for our website design was a natural progression. They did our first website so they’re familiar with the operation, the server, and everything else.

How much have you invested with Straight North?

I don't know that information off the top of my head. I’d have to get the numbers for you.

What is the status of this engagement?

We’ve been working with them for a little over 3 years. The work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

I’m satisfied with Straight North’s work so far and I feel like it has been successful. It’s so new that we haven't been able to measure a lot of direct metrics yet. We only started tracking in November. We have seen a lot of new traffic to the site, but we can't really compare the new website’s traffic to the previous website because we never did any tracking on it. We’re also receiving some new leads, which is a positive.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

I think their team is great. They’re attentive and their turnaround time is excellent.

What did you find most impressive about Straight North?

Even when things are down to the wire and the timeframe isn't as it should be in order for them to do certain things, they make things happen. That’s a great plus for Straight North and it’s why we love to work with them. Even in the toughest of situations, they make things happen.

Are there any areas Straight North could improve?

They could improve by double and triple checking their work before submitting it to us. They miss a lot of the more technical writing stuff, such as misspellings and punctuation. When the work comes back, I have to go through everything with a fine-tooth comb to catch the errors they should have seen.  

What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Straight North?

I would recommend other businesses do a thorough review of the work when it comes back to them.

4.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    I give them a 4 because I find a lot of errors when proofreading their work.
  • 4.5 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Design and Collateral Development for Insurance Company

"Everything is always on time, and their follow-up is first rate."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Jan. 2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North provides web design and marketing collateral development to improve the brand image and professional face of the client.

The Reviewer
 
11- 50 employees
 
Chicago, Illinois Area
Owner, Insurance Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The creative aspect of the web and marketing collateral design is top notch. They offer customized strategies and sound project management.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We have two insurance agencies, and I'm the president.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

We hired Straight North to help us with web design and supporting collateral materials.

SOLUTION

How did you come to work with Straight North?

I don't remember. It’s been several years, and I don't recall how we first came into contact with them.

How much have you invested with Straight North?

We’ve probably spent about $30,000 annually over the last few years.

What is the status of this engagement?

We’ve been working with Straight North for at least four years.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

I would say Straight North’s project management is excellent. Everything is always on time, and their follow-up is first rate. They’re always on top of everything, and their estimates, at least for us, have been right on.

What did you find most impressive about Straight North?

I’m satisfied with Straight North, and I think they’ve been successful. We’re particularly pleased with the design, especially the creative aspect of the design. They’ve been able to capture the essence of our companies in how the materials look, which is not easy.

Are there any areas Straight North could improve?

Maybe they could spend a little more time understanding the nuances of our particular business. That’s just something that takes a while for each client because every client is different. I expected that would take a while. 

What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Straight North?

I would recommend that other companies spend a lot of time orientating Straight North to their particular business. Their work is really customized, and they need to spend a lot of time upfront understanding the way a particular company operates.

5.0
Overall Score If we’re averaging the fives, I'd have to give them a five.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    If there were ever delays, it was our fault in not getting them the information they needed on time, not theirs.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    We never went over budget, so I guess we have to give them the highest rating.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    We wanted everything to look as professional as we think we are, and it does. It looks great.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Digital Marketing Projects for CPA Firm

"Our website is amazing and our printed materials were always on par with our high-quality standards."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Sep. 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North built a new website and provide SEO work to update the firm's outside image and improve recruiting outcomes for new CPAs graduating from college.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 employees
 
Greater Chicago Area
Marketing Director, CPA Firm
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Straight North created an attractive website and met their goal of recruiting more qualified CPAs from colleges. Straight North provides a dedicated project manager to keep progress moving forward.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We are a CPA firm based in Lincolnshire, Illinois, with 120 partners and 60 employees. We have around 12 million dollars in annual revenue. We're a full-service firm providing audits—tax and insurance—as well as advisory services.

I am the marketer of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

When I took over the marketing division, the initial goal was to rebuild our site. We wanted to launch an SEO strategy, but the old page was non-responsive and out of date. Another reason for developing a new website was to gain an advantage over other accounting firms when it comes to recruiting. Many of our competitors run multiple microsites detailing how it is to work for those companies. We got left behind in terms of the website; it wasn't very appealing and didn't represent us as a firm. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Straight North completely rebuilt our site. We took a lot of time with this because we wanted the result to be perfect and it had many custom functionalities. After the site was launched, we started working with Straight North on SEO and other smaller projects, like the design for brochures and general marketing materials. We have a social media presence, but not paid; we also don't use pay-per-click marketing. A part of our SEO work involved Straight North writing guest posts on other companies' blogs.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

We're a 20-year-old company and we've worked with Straight North for most of those 20 years. There wasn't really a question in our minds about using them on the current project. We wanted to work with someone who knew our company and our business.

How much have you invested with Straight North?

The cost of Straight North's services has been around $50,000 in 2016. We have a $2,500 per month fee for SEO, but we also work on additional build-outs for the site.

What is the status of this engagement?

Our current project started in September 2015. Since then, we've gone through a complete rebranding. Our work with Straight North is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

I don't think I could've done my job without Straight North. Our website is amazing and our printed materials were always on par with our high-quality standards. We launched our site at the beginning of November 2016, so we haven't even received the first SEO report for it yet. As we approach the end of 2016, we will start seeing more and more traffic, as this is the time when most people switch CPA firms. In addition to gaining new business, rebuilding the site has helped our recruiting efforts a lot. We recruit heavily on college campuses. Several students have mentioned seeing certain bits of information on our site.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

As a marketer, I have many responsibilities. Things can sometimes slip through the cracks. I haven't worked with other companies, but the biggest thing I've appreciated about Straight North is that they have a designated project manager whose entire job is making sure that the team is getting everything it needs. She has helped me make sure that I knew what I had to deliver and when. When I needed it, Straight North made accommodations for my own timeline as well. There was constant follow-up, project tracking, and updating.

Are there any areas Straight North could improve?

Not having worked with other marketing or development firms, I couldn't say. I've appreciated everything that Straight North has done.

What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Straight North?

I advise clients to be prepared for the project. I felt the most ups and downs during moments when I didn't realize how much of a time commitment would be necessary from my end. I thought that Straight North would simply take what we had and build a new website, but the project turned into a complete rebranding. We had a 2-month delay just because we had to make all-new corporate photography. If we had known this would be necessary, we could have taken care of it before the project even started.

5.0
Overall Score Straight North is a 5-star company overall.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Even with our delays, Straight North was able to turn things around immediately.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    There were a few surprises in terms of builds, with some parts of the project not being included in the original scope. For what we paid, we received a very good product.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Everything I've ever gotten from Straight North feels high quality.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I've recommended Straight North to everyone I know who is thinking of redoing a website.